Lillian Wilson

Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety by Drew Ramsey

The secret to anxiety-free life can be found in nutrition. Learn how nutrition can boost your mood and wellness with this profound read.

Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety

Both anxiety and depression have been haunting people all over the world, with 280 million individuals having depression and 264 million – anxiety.

These disorders can be present in our lives for years without being paid enough attention to. However, when these maladies exacerbate, they significantly influence not only how we feel mentally but can also lead to diseases and negatively influence nutrition, sleep patterns and productivity.

To address the issues of depression and anxiety, Dr. Drew Rasmery wrote the book ‘Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety’. In this review, we will dive deeper into its contents and discover why “when our thinking is unhealthy, our lives will be unhealthy – even if we go to the gym seven times a week and eat kale every day.”

Author’s background

Drew Ramsey, M.D. is a renowned psychiatrist, author, and farmer. He is widely recognised for his expertise in the field of mental health and his advocacy for nutritional interventions in psychiatry.

Currently serving as an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Ramsey founded the Brain Food Clinic in New York City. This innovative clinic combines evidence-based nutrition and integrative psychiatry treatments with psychotherapy, coaching, and responsible medication management to promote emotional wellness.

Driven by the latest advancements in brain science, nutrition, and mental health research, the clinic helps individuals lead joyful and fulfilling lives by incorporating delicious food into their treatment plans. Dr. Ramsey’s contributions extend beyond clinical practice as he delivers compelling keynote speeches and conducts workshops throughout the country. His work has been widely featured in prestigious publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Huffington Post.

What is the book about?

Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety’ by Dr. Drew Ramsey is a groundbreaking and comprehensive exploration of the profound impact that nutrition has on mental health. In the book, Dr. Ramsey tackles the often-overlooked aspect of a person’s diet and its direct influence on depression and anxiety. Drawing from extensive scientific research and his own clinical expertise, he reveals the specific vitamins, minerals, and other substances found in food that are essential for emotional well-being, optimal brain development, and effective nerve functioning.

Dr. Ramsey raises the topic of the brain’s exceptional nutritional needs. The concept of the ‘second brain,’ our gut, is also covered. The author emphasises that by providing brain and gut with proper vitamins and minerals we can affect our mood.

To illustrate the practical application of his nutritional approach, Dr. Ramsey presents compelling case studies of patients whose previous physicians and therapists failed to explore their eating habits. By introducing the necessary foods for addressing depression and anxiety, he witnessed substantial improvements in their conditions. However, Dr. Ramsey emphasizes that these foods should not be considered a standalone cure, as talk therapy and other treatments remain crucial. Rather, they serve as a valuable supplement in addressing the food-related component of these mental health conditions.

The book goes beyond theoretical discussions and provides practical guidance. Dr. Ramsey offers a wide range of food choices, allowing readers to select options that align with their tastes, preferences, and dietary restrictions. Notably, he suggests incorporating ‘RAINBOW‘ produce – diverse and vibrant fruits and vegetables – to entice and maximize nutritional benefits.

To further support readers in implementing these dietary changes, Dr. Ramsey concludes the book with extensive chapters featuring recipes that align with his recommendations. This inclusion allows individuals to embark on a practical journey toward enhancing their mental well-being through delicious and nutritious meals.

Key takeaways from the book

1Nourish the brain properly to beat anxiety and depression

Specific nourishment is essential for the brain’s optimal functioning and mental well-being. Dr. Ramsey emphasizes the importance of providing the brain with the necessary nutrients it needs. For instance, B6 helps combat inflammation, while B12 regulates mood. Zinc plays a role in protecting the immune system, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) foods support the formation of new synaptic connections in the brain.

Dr. Ramsey shares illustrative cases where he discovered that his patients’ previous healthcare providers had neglected to explore their eating habits. By making dietary changes and incorporating what he deems as essential foods for managing depression and anxiety, he observed substantial improvements in his patients’ conditions. It is important to note that while food alone did not ‘cure’ or eliminate the symptoms, it played a crucial role in alleviating them.

2The gut is our ‘second brain’

The gut health has a significant impact on mental well-being. Dr. Ramsey explores the emerging field of gut health and emphasizes the gut’s role as the ‘second brain.’ The gut acts as a vital connection between the nervous system, the brain, and the rest of the body. It not only facilitates communication through a network of nerves but also provides essential biochemicals.

To promote mental health, it is crucial to nourish the gut appropriately. Dr. Ramsey highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome by incorporating foods like probiotic yogurt into one’s diet. The microbiome in the gut plays a critical role in brain health and has a direct connection to the food we consume. By taking care of the gut and its intricate connection to the vagus nerve, individuals can potentially reduce adverse symptoms such as anxiety.

3More attention should be paid to nutrition in mental health treatment

Dr. Ramsey points out that the role of diet and nutrition in mental health treatment is often overlooked. He highlights the fact that physicians frequently neglect to inquire about a person’s diet and eating habits, and they rarely refer patients to nutritionists for further guidance. Moreover, medical training often lacks adequate education in the area of nutrition.

This oversight can lead to a failure in addressing the dietary component of depression and anxiety, which may contribute to these conditions. By disregarding the impact of an individual’s eating pattern, healthcare providers may miss out on a valuable aspect of treatment. As one physician with extensive international experience pointed out, the importance of diet in mental health cannot be underestimated.

Table of contents

  • Dedication
  • Introduction
  • Part I: Eating for Optimal Mental Health
  • Chapter 1: The New Science of Eating for Mental Health Chapter 2: Twelve Nutrients for a Better Brain Chapter 3: How to Grow New Brain Cells Chapter 4: Optimize Your Gut for Mental Health Chapter 5: The Best Foods to Beat Depression and Anxiety
  • Part II: Get Started: Your Path to Healing
  • Chapter 6: Challenges Facing the Modern Eater Chapter 7: Eater, Heal Thyself Chapter 8: The Kitchen Chapter 9: The Six-Week Plan and Recipes
  • Green Shakshuka
  • All Kale Caesar
  • Brain Food Cobb Salad
  • Kale and Basil Pesto
  • Pesto Formula
  • Caldo Verde
  • Herby Prosciutto Chicken with Sautéed Greens
  • Crunchy Seedy Avocado Toast
  • Crispy Pan-Seared Sweet Potatoes
  • Roasted Shiitake and Spinach Grain Salad
  • Brainbow Kimchi Fried Rice with Peanut Sauce
  • Turkey Zucchini Skillet Lasagna
  • Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche
  • Wild Salmon Burgers
  • Mango-Ginger Shrimp Ceviche
  • Fish Tacos with Avocado Crema
  • Soba Dashi with Poached Egg
  • Simple Steamed Clams with Fresh Herbs and Lemon
  • Buckwheat Cacao Pancakes with Raspberry Compote
  • Coconut-Ginger Lentil Soup
  • Mushroom and Chicken Cassoulet
  • Red Bean Hummus
  • Chocolate Brain Truffles
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie
  • Kefir Berry Smoothie
  • Miso Butternut Squash Soup
  • One-Skillet Pork Chops with Plums and Red Onion
  • Kimchi Pancakes
  • Brainfood Reuben
  • Acknowledgements Resources Notes Index About the Author Also by Drew Ramsey Copyright About the Publisher

Overall rating & strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews

The book has gotten 3.93 ⭐️ on GoodReads.


  • Provides practical advice and gives recipes that are claimed to boost one’s mood.

  • The recipes included are both familiar and innovative, this gives motivation to try out something new as well as understanding that foods we are accustomed to are also beneficial.

  • The book emphasizes the value of small changes, stating that even a small change is better than none and is a good place to start.


  • Lengthy content: Some readers may find the book longer than necessary, potentially feeling that it could have been more concise and to the point. The perception of meeting a specific word count requirement might detract from the overall reading experience.

  • Lack of accessibility: The author’s emphasis on farmer’s markets and local fishmongers might create a sense of exclusion for readers who do not have easy access to these resources. This focus on specialised sources and specific dietary preferences may not be applicable or relatable to individuals with different economic circumstances or dietary choices.

Quotes from ‘Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety’

“One of my colleagues, Scott A. Small, MD, a neurologist who heads the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Columbia University, made headlines in 2014 after showing that drinking a dark-chocolate beverage high in cocoa flavanols could improve memory function in older adults. Small and colleagues recruited thirty-seven individuals, between the ages of fifty and sixty-nine, to drink a cocoa beverage each day over a period of three months. Tough sell, right? About half of those individuals were given a beverage high in flavanols. The others were given one with a lower dose of these healthy molecules. After the three-month period was over, Small and colleagues gave the study participants a memory test. Lo and behold, individuals who had consumed the higher flavanol beverage showed a 25 percent greater advantage on the memory task than those who didn’t.“ 
“Psychiatric medicine and mental healthcare have a serious problem. Experts around the globe – from the World Health Organization to the Pew Research Center – all agree: we are in the midst of a mental health epidemic. Diagnoses of depression and anxiety disorders have snowballed over the past decade, now occurring more frequently in teens and young children.“

Final takeaway

In the face of the growing global epidemic of depression and anxiety, ‘Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety’ by Dr. Drew Ramsey offers valuable insights and practical guidance for addressing these mental health conditions through nutrition. With an emphasis on nourishing the brain and optimizing gut health, the book highlights the significant impact of diet on mental well-being. While providing evidence-based recommendations and case studies, Dr. Ramsey reminds readers that food alone is not a cure but a powerful tool in alleviating symptoms.

This comprehensive resource is essential for individuals seeking to understand the connection between nutrition and mental health, empowering them to make informed choices for their overall well-being.

Where to buy

You may purchase ‘Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety’ on Amazon at the best price. It is available in Kindle, hardcover, and audio versions, so you are free to choose the format that suits you best.

Healthypedia FAQ

Yes, the book caters to a variety of dietary preferences and restrictions. Dr. Drew Ramsey offers a wide range of food choices, allowing readers to select options that align with their tastes and dietary needs. Whether you follow a vegetarian, vegan, or omnivorous diet, the book provides recipes and guidelines to help you incorporate brain-healthy foods into your meals. Additionally, Dr. Ramsey suggests diverse and vibrant produce, promoting a 'RAINBOW' approach to maximize nutritional benefits.

While the primary focus of ‘Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety’ is the impact of nutrition on mental health, the book also touches on other factors influencing well-being. It acknowledges the importance of talk therapy and other treatments in addressing depression and anxiety. Dr. Ramsey highlights the connection between the brain and gut health, shedding light on the emerging field of gut-brain interaction. The book provides a comprehensive approach, incorporating nutrition, lifestyle changes, and the role of mental health professionals in promoting emotional wellness.

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